As an employer, you must set out a Grievance Procedure in writing and make it available to all staff through inclusion in either your Employment Contract or your Employee Handbook. If you don’t, you are breaking the law.
Your company’s Grievance Procedure must include the following:
- Who to contact in the event of a grievance
- How to go about contacting that person
In addition it should also…
- Identify an alternative person to contact should the usual person be involved in the grievance
- State that if the problem cannot be resolved informally then a formal Grievance Hearing will be held with the employee
- Set out time limits for each stage of the process
- State that employees can be joined in any meeting by a colleague or union representative
- Describe the procedure if a grievance is raised during a disciplinary procedure
- Explain how to appeal a grievance decision
You don’t have to include your company’s grievance procedure in your actual Contracts of Employment (see above), but if you do, you must ensure that the grievance procedure is followed to the letter or you may face a breach of contract claim against you.
An important note on grievance procedures…
The Advisary, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has produced a Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This provides essential guidelines for Employment Tribunals to follow during a disciplinary or grievance procedure claim. Although the ACAS Code of Practice is not legally binding, an Employment Tribunal will use it as a reference point for best practice. An Employment Tribunal can increase the amount of compensation awarded by 25% (in favour of the employee), or decrease the amount by 25% (in favour of the employer) should either party fail to act in accordance with these guidelines.
For more information about Grievance Procedures, and whether your HR policies and procedures are robust, fair and protect your business, give us a call.